Urban photos tell a vanishing story / fotoLibra

A photographers’ website is championing the preservation of images of Britain’s urban landscape and aiming to establish a national collection of fast-disappearing, everyday street scenes.

fotoLibra, the first open access picture library, is asking photographers to submit photographs of ordinary streetscapes, showing unmodernised shopfronts and buildings before they are demolished to make way for new developments. The aim is to create a permanent, continuing record of Britain’s street views complete with traffic, passers-by and advertising.

Gwyn Headley, founder of fotoLibra and author of five books about Britain’s architectural heritage, explained:
“The unique character of some of our towns and cities is rapidly being lost as new commercial and retail developments change the face of urban Britain,” he said.

“The growth of so-called ‘clone towns’, with identikit chain stores replacing independent shops and small businesses, means that the appearance of our streets is changing forever. We want to build a national archive of images of our disappearing, urbanised world, complete with shop windows, cars, fashions, hairstyles and even advertising billboards – all of which date the photograph to a specific moment in time and one that can never be recaptured.”

“The preservation and recording of historic buildings gets – quite rightly – a lot of attention but the ordinary streetscape slips under the radar. We aim to make sure that our everyday heritage is not forgotten. We are particularly interested in photographs taken before 1980.”  

Photographers can upload their images free to www.fotolibra.com and will earn fees on images subsequently used for commercial purposes.

For more information, contact [email protected]